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Gav Foster on the powerful Voie Normale sds V7/7A+ photos: Si Panton

What now!?

Gav Foster on the first ascent of Sad Man V6/7/7A/+

An interesting roadside venue has been developed by Martin Crook and friends. The boulders beneath Craig y Llyn (in Nant Gwynant) have around twenty lines across a range of difficulty, including a future classic V7/7A+.

Initially, Martin, with the help of Tony Loxton and Noel Craine, climbed a number of obvious problems including the brilliant Voie Normale V4/6B, a steep and powerful stand up line on the road side of the largest block.

Martin then called in Gav Foster and Si Panton for a look. The boys got very excited about the sitting start to Voie Normale and an intense ‘one on, one off’ race kicked off. At first Gav looked strong making a valiant, if doomed, flash attempt. On repeat attempts Gav couldn’t replicate one of the moves he had done, so was back to the drawing board.

Si struggled at first, but soon enough had solved the puzzle of how to get through the brutally powerful crux section, or at least that is how it seemed. First redpoint attempt confirmed that moves done in isolation don’t always connect together very well and Si was left scratching his head once more.

Fired up again, Gav changed his sequence on a whim. A quick blur of limbs and he found himself into the stand up, then topping out seconds later, happy in the knowledge that he had just climbed one of the best problems in North Wales.

“This really is a three star classic – I can’t believe it has sat here for all this time, untouched, yet only 10 yards from the road!”

Said Si

Voie Normale sds would have rated V8/7B, but on a return visit a small part of one of the key holds dropped out, leaving a better grip position and a slightly softer grade: hard V7/7A+.

Consolation for Si came when he climbed the superb diagonal traverse line crossing Voie Normale. Alice V6/7/7A/+ starts standing on the low fin at the back of the alcove then leans in rightwards and powers through and up to the higher traverse line. A tricky cross through precedes a big slap and a barndoory move to gain a juggy but high finish up the aręte problem (a good V4/6B sds itself).

Gav then climbed the excellent Sad Man V6/7/7A/+. This tackles the obvious sitting start line on the leaning block up and left of the main boulder. Start matched on the frown; pull on, toe a hold on the aręte then lurch up to the eye and slap the top (forehead?) before mantelling out into a world of slopeyness.

Aside from the main cluster, there is also a further interesting block 5 minutes walk away: head rightwards for 50m and weave up through low blocks to an attractive boulder with an undercut front face. There are two up lines here and a good left-to-right traverse.

If you do visit, please keep any cleaning of vegetation on new or existing lines down to a minimum.

Relevant links:
      Black and white pics from Tony Loxton